Our world has become quite polluted over time as a result of our waste materials from generating heat and electricity. Inevitably, we are headed toward global warming. Luckily, there are many advances in alternative energy sources and in this post I will be talking about geothermal energy in particular. Geothermal energy is the process of taking heat from the earth and converting it into energy that can be used as a source of electricity and heat. Recent technological advancements have allowed the utility scale to produce 12 million US households worth of energy that is cheaper and cleaner than other ways of producing electricity. Geothermal energy is created when Earthquakes create magma movement and break up rocks below the Earth’s surface, which his allows hot water to circulate and rise to the Earth’s surface so the heat from the water is used to produce electricity (as seen in the image below).
Currently, Iceland is the “pioneer” in the use of geothermal energy throughout the world as it has 5 geothermal power plants; Iceland generates 25% of its energy and roughly 85% of the country’s heat from geothermal systems ! This high level of productivity from the geothermal sources is mostly created through steam, which is naturally occurring due to the high amount of volcanic activity and hot springs in Iceland, which are around 150 degrees Celsius. Because the ground is unstable due to the volcanic activity, however, the plates are frequently moving and thus causing earthquakes. According to the National Energy authority, “During the course of the 20th century, Iceland went from what was one of Europe’s poorest countries, dependent upon peat and imported coal for its energy, to a country with a high standard of living where practically all stationary energy is derived from renewable resources. In 2011, roughly 84% of primary energy use in Iceland came from indigenous renewable resources. Thereof 66% was from geothermal.”
Clearly, there is a lot to look into with Iceland’s success with geothermal energy!